(Poet's title: Halt!)
Set by Schubert:
[October to November 1823]
Part of Die schöne Müllerin, D 795
Eine Mühle seh ich blinken
Aus den Erlen heraus,
Durch Rauschen und Singen
Ei willkommen, ei willkommen,
Und das Haus wie so traulich,
Und die Fenster, wie blank,
Und die Sonne, wie helle
Vom Himmel sie scheint.
Ei, Bächlein, liebes Bächlein,
War es also gemeint?
I can see a mill gleaming
Out from behind the alder trees,
Through the babbling and singing
You can hear the noise of the wheels.
Sweet song of the mill.
And the house – how cosy it is.
And the windows – how shiny.
And the sun, how brightly
It is shining down from the sky.
Little brook, dear little brook,
Is this how it was meant to be?
All translations into English that appear on this website, unless otherwise stated, are by Malcolm Wren. You are free to use them on condition that you acknowledge Malcolm Wren as the translator and schubertsong.uk as the source. Unless otherwise stated, the comments and essays that appear after the texts and translations are by Malcolm Wren and are © Copyright.
We soon learn that this young man is not totally consistent. His desire to travel did not last very long and he stops at the first mill he comes to. He expresses surprise at discovering the very thing he knew he would find – a watermill by a little river.
As the river has grown in size (from a spring, to a trickle, to a stream broad enough to drive a mill wheel) the lad’s affection for it has grown and in consequence he refers to it in ever more diminutive terms: the ‘Bach’ (a brook, a little river) has become a ‘Bächlein’ (a little brook, a tiny little river) and his ‘liebes Bächlein’. Since this ‘dear little brook’ has been his only companion on his journey he feels a special affinity, particularly since he interprets its course as guiding his whole destiny. He cannot see the world without pattern and meaning, and so he concludes that the river has led him to this very destination. He is unable to see that he did not need to stop at this mill, that he could have followed other streams, that his immediate destination is not necessarily his ultimate destiny.
Original Spelling and note on the text Halt! Eine Mühle seh ich blinken1 Aus den Erlen heraus, Durch Rauschen und Singen Bricht Rädergebraus. Ei willkommen, ei willkommen, Süßer Mühlengesang! Und das Haus, wie so traulich! Und die Fenster, wie blank! Und die Sonne, wie helle Vom Himmel sie scheint! Ei, Bächlein, liebes Bächlein, War es also gemeint? 1 Schubert changed Müller´s blicken (peeping) to blinken (gleaming)
Confirmed with Gedichte aus den hinterlassenen Papieren eines reisenden Waldhornisten. Herausgegeben von Wilhelm Müller. Erstes Bändchen. Zweite Auflage. Deßau 1826. Bei Christian Georg Ackermann, page 10; and with Sieben und siebzig Gedichte aus den hinterlassenen Papieren eines reisenden Waldhornisten. Herausgegeben von Wilhelm Müller. Dessau, 1821. Bei Christian Georg Ackermann, page 11.
To see an early edition of the text, go to page 11 [Erstes Bild 22] here: https://download.digitale-sammlungen.de/BOOKS/download.pl?id=bsb10115224